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Octocopter RTF Distributors

Discussion in 'Recreational sUAS Flyers Discussions' started by Q_W, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. Q_W

    Q_W New Member

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    Posted by Q_W, Jul 16, 2012 #1
    Octocopter RTF Distributors + Prices?

    Hi,

    I'm getting ready to purchase a large octocopter (SkyJib 8). I've been speaking to a couple of vendors and was wondering if anybody had previous experience or knowledge of the reliability of these companies. Something really important to us is that the RTF package is delivered in the time that they tell us it will be ready. We're planning to pay extra for a rush build and delivery.

    I've had contact with:
    UAV Rotor King (California)
    Aerial Technology International (Oregon)
    Eye In The Sky Aerial Photography (California)
    Infinite Jib (Ontario)

    Any words of advice would be appreciated!

    Thanks-
    Q
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2012
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  2. Posted by flightrobotix, Jul 16, 2012 #2
    As you seem to be located in the U.S. I am not shure if my recommendation is helpful.

    Matjaz from kopterworx in Slovenia is very experienced with skyjib 8, Cinestar8 and hughe loads (RED Scarlet and Epic, C300, FS100).
    He will be out for vacation from July 23rd, so you have to cantact him fast if you are interested.
    www.kopterworx.com

    Please send my greetings.
    Frank (from flightrobotix)
     
  3. Q_W

    Q_W New Member

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    Posted by Q_W, Jul 16, 2012 #3
    Thanks, flightrobotix, but I think we will try and stay on this side of the Atlantic.

    We're getting a pretty wide variety of price quotes for an RTF SkyJib system. Most estimates include the RTF octocopter, WooKoong M flight controller, 4-8 LiPos of varying capacity, 2-axis camera gimbal, gimbal stabilization, two control radios, receiver, video transmission system, flight training, as well as system testing and tuning.

    I'm getting prices ranging from $10,000 - $30,000. Am I getting ripped off by the higher prices or are the lower priced companies trying to get a deposit before they run up the price? What should I expect to pay for a complete system, RTF?
     
  4. Posted by flightrobotix, Jul 16, 2012 #4
    Hi Q_W

    depending on the options.

    Having a skyjib 8 suitable for Heavy Lift of cameras like RED is notthat easy.
    You need perfect stabilisation, 2 men operation, 360 gimbal,...

    Give Matjaza try, he is active all over the world (europe, costa rica, singapor, ...)

    Just check his website and sample videos.
    You will see, he is your man.

    normally you should be in the range of 20.000 USD

    Skyjib 8 would be flown with MK not DJI, but it depends (as almost everything ;) )

    Frank
     
  5. Bartman

    Bartman Welcome to MultiRotorForums.com!!

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    Posted by Bartman, Jul 16, 2012 #5
    i hate to be negative but if you're entering into this with little to no experience then you're money is going to be at a very high risk of being wasted. do you have any experience with RC in any form? have you flown any multi-rotor helicopters before?

    just wondering.

    fwiw, 10k sounds low, 30k is way too high. two radios, gimbal controller, 8 motors, Wookong system....etc......I'd guess you'll have to spend at least 14k, maybe higher depending on the specifics of what you're getting. avoid no-name chinese motors, limited channel count radios, single battery systems, single receiver radio installations, cheap propellers, cheap servos in the camera mount....there's a lot to know about to ensure a good buying/flying experience.

    bart
     
  6. redridinghood

    redridinghood Member

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    Posted by redridinghood, Jul 16, 2012 #6
    For a SJ8 with top of the line parts as Plettenberg motors, Castle Phoenix Ice esc, FC (MK recommended), telemetry, 2 x 8 ch tx, 360 AV200, retractable landing gear, Picloc 3x pro, 8 x 8000mah lipo, charger and Iftron 5.8ghz downlink I paid around 7500 - 8000 euro.

    10000 - 12000 euro prices for RTF are reasonable.

    Also get a Cheap quad to practice on before.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2012
  7. Posted by flightrobotix, Jul 16, 2012 #7
    I agree, first start with quad or hexa.

    A good Hexa HL (CineStar6 or similar) with good gimbal will do the job for you.
    You will spend around 10.000-15.000 USD for RTF.

    It is very hard to fly a machine for 35.000 bucks with a 45.000 bucks camera mounted to it. Believe me I tried it before... you will become very nervous.

    Again, try to find a vendor you can fully trust. Get to him, talk with him half a day or more. Tell him what you want. Believe in what he is telling you. This will make you happy.
    Matjaz (kopterworx) did the same for me time ago. It is like a jumpstart into this business. But you have to keep on learning every day. Do not rely on your initial partner, and try to get better and gain more knowledge everyday you are flying or working on your "baby".

    Frank
     
  8. Q_W

    Q_W New Member

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    Posted by Q_W, Jul 16, 2012 #8
    Thanks, Bart, I appreciate the concern. I've done a good amount of research into multicopters and can appreciate the complexity of these machines. They certainly aren't toys! I personally do not have experience with multi-rotors but we are a big company looking to acquire the octocopter and we have a couple people experience with multirotors who would handle the vehicle.

    From what I've found, it seems there is a large value in assembling the multirotor from a kit rather than go the RTF route. It seems like time constraints are going to force us into buying the RTF package though.

    I've seen pretty good specs on the radios and battery systems. The Futaba 8 and 10 both have capability for 14 channels, and most companies are providing plenty of batteries.

    Can you expand more on what you mean about the single receiver radio installation? I've seen the Sbus and Passport receivers

    Any thoughts on APC props?

    Had not occurred to me to ask about servos in the camera mount.

    We are also asking for a rush build/delivery, and the $30k price quote also includes the Woo-Kong 50 Waypoint package as well as a laptop for use as the data ground station. Perhaps that is not far off the mark?

    Why do you recommend MK? All of the distributors I've spoken to only work with Hoverfly and DJI, and most say to avoid MK.

    Would definitely be good to get some practice with a smaller copter first. I think some of my coworkers have experience flying multicopters so that will help.

    Thanks so much for the help so far!
     
  9. tstrike

    tstrike pendejo grande

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    Posted by tstrike, Jul 16, 2012 #9
    good luck
     
  10. Bartman

    Bartman Welcome to MultiRotorForums.com!!

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    Posted by Bartman, Jul 16, 2012 #10
    Q-W,

    how do you intend to operate the helicopter? smooth hovering/panning? dynamic flying/chasing active subjects? waypoint flying, pre-programmed camera positioning?

    Every flight control system has its strengths and weaknesses. If you're not going to be too dependent on GPS and the guys on the sticks know how to fly then I'd go with Hoverfly. If it's all going to be very technical and there will be days where the wind is blowing but you have to go fly anyway, then I'd go MK. SOme will say DJI can handle the winds just as well but you'd have to find someone who can guarantee it for you. MK handles the winds very well but brings a weak power distribution and motor control scheme to the table and if you don't understand the risks you can end up very disappointed. DJI has strong GPS and waypoint capabilities (from what I hear) but there are a lot of posts discussing heli's that went belly up at altitude or just flew away. I don't understand why but you should try to get a handle on it before you choose DJI.
     
  11. Posted by flightrobotix, Jul 16, 2012 #11
    Normally SJ8 users use MK as the are very experienced for some years. And WKM is a very young flight electronics compared to MK.

    I personally love MK.
    I am not an RC guy. I got into the business from the application approach (thermografical diagnostics).
    I need a FC that is doing the job for me and is very stable and reliable. Thats DJI KWM (at least until 5.08 as it seems currently ;) )

    I am quite sure that you will get a very good SJ8 with WKM too.

    You haven't told much about the application you are thinking about. Most of the aerial videos are taken in drift flights, smooth multi directional flights, and so on.
    The manual mode from MK is really MANUAL - making all this possible. IF YOU ARE A EXPERIENCED PILOT

    Frank
     
  12. Q_W

    Q_W New Member

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    Posted by Q_W, Jul 16, 2012 #12
    Well it seems all of the distributors I'm speaking to only work with Hoverfly and DJI. GPS waypoint capability is important for us, and since Hoverfly doesn't support that (yet!) we are left with no options. From what I've seen, DJI isn't a bad flight control system to be stuck with, but these posts you mention about heli's going belly up is scary.


    We are going to be utilizing waypoint flying for sure. We hope for dynamic flying/chasing of active subjects. My bosses are sort of looking for an all-purpose vehicle to test a variety of potential sensor applications. It seems to me that multirotors are not really in all-in-one vehicle and should rather be optimized for each specific application. Perhaps a smaller octocopter or hexacopter is better as a more well-rounded vehicle?
     
  13. Posted by flightrobotix, Jul 16, 2012 #13
    Now you got the point :)
    Talk to guys who are really experienced in similar areas you will operate your multicopter.
    There is no multi-purpose-working-out-of-the-box-hassle-free copters.

    Frank
     
  14. KopterX

    KopterX Member

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    Posted by KopterX, Jul 16, 2012 #14
    I will definitely not recommend MK to someone with no multirotor flying experience. MK is a very good FC but is for experienced pilots only, especially when you go directly to heavy lifters. I would recommend DJI but not before reading all about the problems of this FC.

    Also, if you are US, keep i mind that even nobody seems to care about it, commercial flights with UAVs are illegal.
     
  15. Lanzar

    Lanzar Member

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    Posted by Lanzar, Jul 17, 2012 #15
    I would like to say +1 to flightrobotics.
    I also suggest that u visit the ppl that provide the rtf kopters so u get the idea on how they work and if they are able to put together the kopter for your needs. U will spend 1000 dolars on trip but it will be worth it at the end since it will save u a lot of time and give you a bigger picture on how this things operate.
     
  16. ChrisViperM

    ChrisViperM Active Member

    Posted by ChrisViperM, Jul 17, 2012 #16
    Why don't you just invite the vendors to come to your company, show them exactly what you are up to and let them SHOW you in real life if their products are up to the specs. If you are a reasonable sized company than you should be able to afford a flight ticket and maybe 2 days of accomodation. Might cost you a few 100 €, but that's nothing compared to what you are about to risk. That way you will already see who of the vendors is serious about business and who is not. That can be done even in a tight time frame. Then make damn sure to have a waterproof contract with the vendor about all the specs and abilities you are promised...but I doubt you will get one. Also think about what will happen IF that thing crashes and the person responsibel for the desaster has to be found.

    Chris
     
  17. Posted by flightrobotix, Jul 17, 2012 #17
    @Lanzar: it took us only 450 EUR to get to you recently ;) Was a nice trip in an croatioan night train ;)
    Best spent money ever!

    Greetings to Matjaz ;) and enjoy your summer vacation...

    Frank
     
  18. jes1111

    jes1111 Active Member

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    Posted by jes1111, Jul 17, 2012 #18
    You're still being a little obscure about the application.

    - Do you really need the payload capability of a Skyjib?
    - Which "2-axis gimbal" are you being quoted? Dual operator really works better with a 3-axis.
    - What are the performance priorities? Flight time, sensor stability/smoothness, ease of use, payload capability...?

    Seems to me that a DJI S800 + Zenmuse is the current "class of the field" in terms of "out of the box" performance. If you can live with the payload limitation, this combo would be an excellent first step. If the object of the exercise is "to test a variety of potential sensor applications" then you want the actual flying part to be "transparent". Even with a well-built RTF Skyjib there's a strong likelihood that the first six months of ownership will be burned up getting to grips with the machine itself, "taming and tuning it".

    I think it's worth pointing out, too, that there appears to be a distinct difference between DJI electronics on a DJI frame/gimbal and DJI electronics on any other frame/gimbal.
     
  19. Lanzar

    Lanzar Member

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    Posted by Lanzar, Jul 17, 2012 #19
    First of all i see the point, but a lot off vendors would loose minimum 2,3 days total in travel just to show off the product to the client. Multiply that with 50 enqueris and u get 150 days in travel. I doubght vendors can afford this.
    Second of all if the client comes to us, we can improvise on spot if he has his camera with him we can put in on the kopter and do a demo shoot and flight. If we go to client we dont have that option.
    Second the transport of the copter to location is from 500 to 100o eur and takes up to 3 days to deliver.

    ABOUT waterproof contract. Well since this is a hobby line production and you do not get any waranty from manufacturers, you cant expect that the company that makes the kopter will give u waranty. Even in Mikrokopter electronics where u have a blackbox, it is hard to say what has gone wrong in 80% of cases when something hapenes. So there is no way to know what realy happened.

    But i must say that if you fully understand the how does it work and if you go threw basic flight school a lot of things can be prevented. Like using altitude mode, gps mode, carefree, poi .... at the end are not recomended since they are number 1 on who to blame crash list. Second preflight check on componets, taking care of bateries, checking temperatures off motors and controlers, checking the solar activity ...
    If you know all this then u are 99% positive that nothing will happen. We have 30 clients that report back to us for over 1.5 year with good results and no crashes. Satisfied customer is always the best one.

    Offcourse is the vendor sais that his kopter will be ready to lift 5kg in normal conditions then he has to keep his word. But then what is normal condition. (for example about 0 to 1500m elevation, temperature around 20 to 25 degress, normal to low wind, no rain, no snow ...) Cause everithing changes if you need a copter in Jakarta or Canada or Mexico. 3 diferent setups are required.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2012
  20. ChrisViperM

    ChrisViperM Active Member

    Posted by ChrisViperM, Jul 17, 2012 #20
    Lanzar

    I totally agree with what you have said, especially concerning precautions. The point I wanted to make was a little bit hidden, but you hit the nail: "Well since this is a hobby line production and you do not get any waranty from manufacturers..." Most people here doing Aerials know their stuff and had to go through a long and painful learning curve and know the capabilities and risks of their copters. It is possible to get "special" attention and contracts and so on from a vendor, but then you don't talk anymore with the classical distributors where the majority here is buying their stuff, but with a few highly specialised B2B companies, and then we talk about a price level which can make you very pale in the face. This does not mean that the "hobby line" products are bad and B2B is the only way to go, but this guy should be aware that just trying to buy a "All-in-one-wonder" from the web without real deep knowledge in every aspect of this can only lead to desaster. I am convinced that most of the sellers he mentioned are standing behind their product and are top people in assembling and delivering a top product, but this doesn't help at all if the customer is not a "professional" in handling the product as well.

    Chris
     
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